For those of you who read my 2012 resolutions, you may recall I wanted to expand my writing group experiences. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love the group I currently attend, just thought the more feedback, the better. I wanted to push myself. I’m a glutton for punishment (but then, that’s a whole other blog).
The way I had it figured, two meetings each month, both requiring submissions meant I’d be doing a lot of writing. How could my writing NOT, improve (theoretically, of course). Sounded reasonable to me.
So, with great anticipation, I attended my first meeting of the new group, Tuesday evening. It was a large crowd, close to twenty participants. After, a round robin of introduction, the facilitator announced we were going to do a five minute, free-writing exercise before breaking into groups to share and critique our work.
I thought, Okay, this is a different approach from my other group, but so far so good. I pulled out my pen, opened my notebook, and waited.
She said, “Think of the first line of a poem or song and write for five minutes. Don’t worry about punctuation, just write. I’ll time you. Go.”
I drew a blank, a complete and utter blank, my brain froze. My muse looked at me, scowling and said, “Is she kidding, a poem? I’m out of here.”
“Sit yourself down this instant! The only thing running through this brain right now is, ‘I’ve Got The Dinosaur Blues’. I don’t think that will cut it! I can’t share that with the group! Sit down!” I hissed.
Don’t misunderstand I love the song! I sing it out loud and with gusto whenever my two granddaughters are in the car with me. In fact, it is the only music they allow me to listen to. I have a copy for every car (Mothers take note).
I raised my hand, “What if you don’t read poetry or listen to music?” I asked. In other words, I’ve had a brain fart, should I just go ahead and scoot out the door, now? Everyone paused monetarily as they looked up, deciding instantly I must be joking, and returned to writing.
I waited, my pen poised in mid-air for the leader of the group or someone to throw me a crumb, offer words of encouragement, maybe a hint, or suggestion, anything, but nope I was on my own.
And, then I remembered. I had read a poem that morning. In fact, I read it as part of a critique for my regular writer’s group coming up in a few days. In my mind, I saw the first verse:
“I tickled your toes as I pushed you in the swing.”
Now, I realize at first glance it doesn’t sound much better than, ‘I’ve got the dinosaur blues’, but the clock was ticking. I was the only one in the group of 20 people, NOT writing. I had to do something. A girl’s gotta do what a girls gotta do.
I was so proud of myself, I had written something that made sense, at least to me, and in less than five minutes. There were ooh’s, aha’s, and smiling feedback all around the room for those who chose to share, and then I read mine. You could have heard a feather drop.
I raised my head to find a group of 20 or so participants, staring back at me. Pretty much like a bunch of deer in headlights, not a smile to be found. No one uttered a word, except me.
“O-o-o-kay,” I said, closing my notebook with a pop and grin, “That’s it.” We quickly broke into groups.
I think I made an impression. What do you think?